What are the odds of a bread baker and a Poet Laureate finding common ground?
Becoming the dearest of friends?
Maybe better than you think.
Capitol Cities Poet Laureate didn't actually start writing poetry until she was 40, but she's always loved dessert.
Over the last couple of years I have had the honor of joining Carol on a series of culinary dates to a variety of Saint Paul's trendiest dining establishments.
Although our destinations have been diverse, dessert has always been the common denominator.
But other times people choose restaurants for more than food, they choose places that give them comfort, and for Carol Connolly, nothing says chillax like the Lexington.
I think it was last autumn when we last met there.
Carol had made prrevious arrangments for us to secure a corner table in the bar, however....when we got there, her favorite spot was filled with louts.
She wasn't very happy with this turn of events, and as she explained her displeasure to the wait staff, they offered up a half million apologies and possible resolutions, but by this time Carol didn't care....nobody rebounds quite like Connolly.
So now we are out in the dining room and after receiving water and a bread basket she asked me.....
"So tell me young man, how have you been, and what are you writing about these days?"
The question made me smile because I was in a phase where I was trying to understand why for so many men, the most difficult person in the world to talk to was their daughter(s).
'You know Carol" I said....."It started off with me focussing on me writing down conversations with my daughter. Some were actual, and others were discussions that I wish had taken place. But then as time passed....I started to wonder if other Father/Daughter relationships were as difficult to navigate, so I started to talk to women of all ages about their fathers, and I'm finding out that this is a powerful topic.
So tell me Carol...what do you most remember about your father?"
Carol paused for a second, and I think her eyes began filling with tears, but good tears, not sad memory tears, finally the Poet Laureate responded......
"My father was big like you Klecko, he was a good man, but he had so much work, and such a large family to consider. I remember one day he was moving a dresser from the top level of our house to the main floor. The staircase was tight and there was several different landings.
It was obvious that this dresser was too large for his to accomplish this task, but he kept trying anyway. Finally the dresser slipped from his grip and I'll never forget his response. He just stood there with an akward smile and said LET THAT SON OF A BITCH GO.
I had never heard my father speak like that. He was quiet and to himself, but that didn't mean he didn't have a sweet side. One day when my brother (closest to me in age) was getting into some trouble of some sort. My father caught him and playfully explained......
IF I CATCH YOU DOING THAT AGAIN, I'M GONNA KNOCK YOUR HEAD CLEAN OFF YOUR BODY, AND IT WILL BOUNCE DOWN THE STREET SO FAR THAT YOU WILL DIE OF STARVATION BEFORE IT RETURNS!"
Carol stopped speaking, grinned huge, and did her best to savor her fond memories.
That evening at the Lexington was such a brilliant moment for me that I could go on telling you guys stories for the rest of the day, but as I regress, I guess I should just return to the likelihood of a baker and a Poet Laureate becoming great friends.
For the longest time I felt that our friendship tandem was so unique and in many ways it defied the odds, but now that I think about the time we have spent together....
I just think our friendship is obvious.
Submitted below might be Carol's legacy poem. Often times when she is asked by a group to recite a spontanious poem, this is what she pulls from her tool box.
A Gentleman's Invitation
Meet me at six o'clock
at the New French Cafe.
We will share,
a cup of consomme.
Handsome is he
His smile is as wide
as the English Channel.
But a hungry woman
searching for substance
in a cup of consomme
at six o'clock
at the New French Cafe.